5 Keys to Delivering Better AEC Projects: Track Project Progress

To maintain client satisfaction and develop new business, professional services firms must deliver quality projects on time and within the designated budget. Unfortunately, delivering quality projects is often a challenge, especially when managing multiple large-scale projects simultaneously.  

Accurately tracking the progress of projects is one of the keys to delivering better AEC projects. The most referenceable clients are those that have their projects delivered on time and on budget. So constantly staying in tune with how your project is progressing every step of the way will help you win more business. Once again, for AEC firms it’s all about profitable projects and happy clients. 

What is Project Progress?  

There are different flavors of measuring project progress. Here are the three most important measures to track: 

  • Project Manager’s (PM) Progress: The percentage of work that has been completed on the project. 
  • Billing Progress: The percentage of the contract that has been billed to date. 
  • Revenue Progress: The percentage of the contract value that’s been recognized as revenue. 

At any point in time, these may all be the same. But for a variety of reasons, they may differ over the life of the project. The PM’s assessment of progress may drive the other two measures, so let’s focus on that. 

How can you accurately track the progress of your AEC projects? 

From a project manager’s perspective, there are two critical factors to track on any project – what has already been done, and what is left to do. Due to the complex nature of AEC projects and the individual tasks involved in the larger effort, tracking completion percentage is not always easy.  

aec360 Project Operations from HSO offers a clear view of a project’s real-time status and trend information. The screen shot below demonstrates the information a PM is given to assess the current status of the project. 

A screenshot of a sample project tracked in Dynamics 365

In this view of aec360’s Project Operations software, the PM can see how the project is trending. With Planned Effort, they see how much time is projected to complete the task based on their original plan. Actuals will be automatically populated to show how much Effort was expended by the project staff. Then, the system will show the PM the percent complete – the actual Effort divided by the Planned Effort. 

With this, the PM can see the Estimate to Complete (ETC) – the remaining effort based on the plan. But what if things aren’t going according to plan? The PM considers what it’s really going to take to finish the task and if it’s going to take more time, they update the ETC. And at the end of it all, the system tells the PM the new Estimate at Completion (EAC). This is their new reality. 

Giving project managers insight into a project’s financial progress 

Project managers play a vital role in helping to optimize an AEC firm’s actual revenue – keeping a project on schedule while limiting internal costs helps to maximize that revenue.  

Giving your project managers even greater insight into a projects financial progress will help them drive the project with an eye on revenue.  

A great way to look at the financial impact of tracking progress in relation to the project plan is through Earned Value Management. The screen shot below shows how the system uses the PM’s update of the ETC to produce a graph of the financial progress of the project.  

A screenshot of a sample Earned Value screen in Dynamics 365 

When we look at Earned Value, we want to catch a snapshot of the project’s progress at various points in time. This gives the project manager a great idea of when the project deviates from the plan according to various measures. The inflection point of any of these lines provides the insight the project manager needs to steer the project back on plan – or least stop it from going further off track and putting profitability in jeopardy.  

For example, when Earned Value (EV) and Planned Value (PV) start to separate, the project manager might ask themselves, “are we doing work that is out of the project’s original scope? Will we have to write-off some time?” It’s time for them to investigate what’s going on and adjust the approach to compensate. 

This insight can help the project manager drive projects that not only amaze customers but also provide the maximum revenue for your firm.  

Effective AEC project tracking can help you deliver better projects and improve revenue 

aec360 Project Operations, from HSO, provides the PM with a great tool to track the project’s progress and monitor productive and potentially unproductive time. Minimizing out of scope effort will reduce unearned time that is charged to the project and leads to a more profitable result. That’s great for your firm. It will also lead to finishing the project on-time and on-budget, and that’s great for your client! Interested in learning more about aec360? Contact us today.

Read our next article in the series on how to maximize collaboration and communication.  

Michael D’Alesio is VP, Customer Care at HSO ProServ | Michael has served in many roles during his tenure in the Microsoft Partner Channel for the past 25-years.  Michael currently is responsible for supporting, enabling and strategically leading the HSO ProServ Team responsible for HSO ProServ D365 installed based customers to accept, adopt the Microsoft platforms to ensure they attain business value and user adoption.

Gary Mills serves as Senior Vice President of Finance, Planning & Analysis for HSO | ProServ. Gary’s diverse industry background brings a unique perspective to the company, with more than 30 years in corporate finance, banking and commercial real estate.

In his role as CFO of HSO | ProServ, Brian Lounds leverages deep experience implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to drive excellence into the organization’s financial and practice management practices. Having worked with Dynamics solutions since 1998, he has a strong understanding of technology solutions and their application
to business initiatives.

Whit McIsaac is CEO of HSO | ProServ and brings over 20 years of leadership experience in the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem to drive the group’s overall business strategy. Whit was Co-founder and CEO of aec360 and legal360 prior to merging these practices into sa.global, where he served as CEO of the Americas prior to launching HSO | ProServ.

Andy Yeomans brings nearly 20 years of Microsoft Dynamics sales and marketing experience to lead the HSO | ProServ sales organization. Under Andy’s leadership, the organization has shown strong growth and has consistently been recognized by Microsoft as a top performing partner, winning multiple Microsoft Inner Circle and Partner of the Year awards.

Jan Dahl Sorensen’s deep experience with Microsoft Dynamics gives him a unique foundation to guide the HSO | ProServ client success team. As part of the original development team under Damgaard Data, Jan has been working with the Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions since 1995.

Joe Stuckey is EVP and Director of CRM Product Development for HSO | ProServ, leading the company’s CRM product development efforts across the legal, AEC, consulting, and accounting markets. Joe leverages the power of Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform technologies to design and develop purpose-built industry solutions.

Paramesh Rajan is VP, Technology at HSO | ProServ. Paramesh has served in many Microsoft Dynamics project and program management roles over the past 20 years, and currently drives the development of the organization’s vertical ERP and HR solutions and outsourced development services.

A highly respected Microsoft Dynamics veteran, Jen Wisemore serves as CAO for HSO | ProServ. Jen was instrumental in the launch of sa.global’s US subsidiary in 2007 and has served in a wide variety of roles within Microsoft Dynamics consultancies across sales, pre-sales, program management, and leadership capacities.

John Aschenbrener is Director of Delivery Services for HSO | ProServ. John brings over 20 years of Microsoft Dynamics project and program management, consulting, and architect experience to his current role where he is responsible for driving PMO standards, methodology, and overall project delivery.

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In his role as Chief Operating Officer, Sean Skiver brings nearly 25 years of broad Microsoft Dynamics experience to provide strategic leadership around product development and client delivery services across the organization’s solutions and industry segments.

Amy Spencer leads the team that is responsible for go-to-market strategies, messaging, and demand generation in the US.

Amy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from The College of New Jersey and has 25+ years of experience in marketing management for technology and professional services companies.

As Vice President of Human Resources for HSO, Kristen Ramerini is responsible for initiatives including recruitment, onboarding, professional development/career progression, performance management, culture, and employee retention. Prior to her position with HSO, she worked in human resources and recruiting for Seviroli Foods on Long Island and CCN, Inc. in New York City. She holds an MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University and is PHR certified.

Darren Gooding is VP of Delivery for HSO | ProServ, leading the company’s CRM delivery across the legal, AEC, consulting, and accounting markets. Darren applies his 25 years of experience and HSO’s industry focused intellectual property to successfully deliver large-scale, global engagements that ensure customer success.